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You’re pulling an all-nighter to cram for an exam. Your newborn baby is keeping you up until the wee hours of the morning because they apparently refuse to sleep at normal times. You keep finding yourself scrolling through TikTok until 4am (put down your phone and spend time outside!).

No matter what the reason is, we’ve all found ourselves in situations where we are sleep deprived, thus we know how it makes us feel. But how does sleep actually affect the state of our mental health? 

While research is continuously being performed to further understand the full extent of the effects of sleep on mental health, it is definitely apparent that a correlation exists. The current consensus is leaning towards the notion that sleeping problems are both a cause and consequence of mental health problems.

Think of it like a cyclical loop of sleep loss due to mental health concerns, which causes more sleep loss, and so on and so forth. And the flip side is true too, as improved sleep hygiene promotes better mental health, which leads to better sleep, etc. 

The brain is very active during sleep, working hard during times of deep rest to generate better thinking, learning, and memory. Sleep allows the brain to process emotional information as it stores our thoughts and memories. As cognitive neuroscience reveals, these brain activities are crucial to our mental and emotional well-being, so it’s no wonder sleep is vital to our mental health.  

Practicing mindfulness in relation to sleep means setting yourself up for good sleep hygiene. Everybody is unique, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the perfect sleep habits. Always consult your doctor before making any drastic changes to your daily life and habits. Generally, though, Simply Psych finds it best to follow these tips for consistent quality sleep:

  • Maintain a consistent sleep and wake schedule
  • Get enough sleep (The CDC recommends at least seven hours of sleep for adults)
  • Practice mindfulness and relaxation before bed to wind down
  • Limit stimulants (caffeine, nicotine, etc.) and depressants (such as alcohol), especially in the hours leading up to bed time
  • Minimize time spent looking at screens; blue light kills sleep
  • Exercise regularly; even just going for a walk outside improves sleep
  • Create a dark, quiet atmosphere that’s conducive to restful, uninterrupted sleep

Taking the time to prepare your mind and body to fall into deep sleep on a consistent basis will improve your mental health, and thus lead you in that cycle of better sleep causing/caused by better mental and emotional health. 

Simply Psych is committed to helping all people feel better. We love to do this by providing edutainment that promotes mindfulness in all aspects of life. Check out more content at www.simplypsych.com!  

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